Vintage selfies, immoral tea, and Victorian manspreading March 20, 2017Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: everything old is new again, language, words
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Today in Older Than They Think: The first portrait photograph ever made, in 1839…and guess what, it was a selfie.
Tea causes lack of sleep, weakens the nerves, corrupts boys, and is a gateway to prostitution for girls: a Kids These Days screed from 1833.
Things that were sure to corrupt women over the years: bicycles, novels, the post office, and the telephone.
A writer hating on Kids These Days for no longer being able to speak proper English…in 1440, where those darn kids were ruining their Anglo-Saxon by using newfangled words from Norman French.
Cartoon from Victorian London about…what today we call “manspreading.” (They called it “sitting wide” or “the roomy dodge.”)
Three generations of slang, as of 1925. Fun to see which ones are normal in the present day (“wallflower”, “cheapskate”), which sound adorably outdated (“red-hot mama”, “bully!”), and which have morphed to mean completely different things (“guy”, “spoofing”).
Old stuff: math teachings from 1917, scandalous pop songs from 1909, cat video from 1903 February 8, 2016Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: books, Boston, cats, everything old is new again, language, music, video
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In reverse chronological order!
Books are Weapons in the War on Ideas: the librarians who worked with the army in WWI and WWII.
“…contractors removing old chalkboards at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City made a startling discovery: Underneath them rested another set of chalkboards, untouched since 1917.” Historical penmanship and out-of-date multiplication methods ahoy!
“It may seem like a Halloween hoax fit for the eerie October holiday. But officials from the MBTA say the discovery of two tattered rags affixed to strange masks at Government Center Station is all too real.”
“How a sexed-up viral hit from the summer of ’09—1909—changed American pop music forever.” (Excerpts: “It was used in advertisements for everything from Broadway musicals to pretzels. It was translated by newspapers into Esperanto (“Ho! Vi kaprido!”). It was bellowed by a lovelorn Philadelphian as he leaped from a bridge into the Schuylkill River, attempting suicide. It brought scandal to a church in Geneva, Ill., when a prankster altered the hymnal, adding the line “but, oh, you kid!” to the lyrics of the devotional “I Love My God.””)
Millennial in China taking an excited photo with a bowl of rice. And by “millennial” I mean “circa 1900-1904.” Next time you hear someone complaining about Kids These Days sharing photos of their lunches on Instagram, you can bring up this hard evidence that the generation from a hundred years ago would have done the exact same thing.
The first close-up shot in recorded film was from 1903’s “The Sick Kitten”. In other words, humans have been making cat videos literally for as long as it as been possible to do so.
Check out these 19th-century warnings about that most morally-degrading of modern habits. It leads to crime, mental anguish, weakening intelligence, and corruption among the children! Clearly, respectable people should have nothing to do with…novel-reading.
Science!: toothy dinosaurs, adapting our brains to Google, language of whistling, Earth with rings, and more January 26, 2016Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: astronomy, everything old is new again, language, SCIENCE!, words
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“The dinosaur’s jaw was lined with at least 1,000 teeth with coarse surfaces perfect for pulverizing plants. U. kuukpikensis belongs to the hadrosaur group of duck-billed dinosaurs. It was 25 to 30 feet long, six or seven feet high at the hip, and probably covered with scales.”
“With timelapse cameras, specialists recorded salt water being excluded from the sea ice and sinking. The temperature of this sinking brine, which was well below 0C, caused the water to freeze in an icy sheath around it. Where the so-called “brinicle” met the sea bed, a web of ice formed that froze everything it touched, including sea urchins and starfish.”
“This effort appears to have backfired for the organization—whose mission is to raise awareness about how certain environmental exposures may be linked to autism—since the study SafeMinds supported showed a link between autism and vaccines does not exist.”
“We’ve begun to fit the machines into an age-old technique we evolved thousands of years ago—“transactive memory.” That’s the art of storing information in the people around us. We have begun to treat search engines, Evernote, and smartphones the way we’ve long treated our spouses, friends, and workmates.”
“Unlike all other spoken languages, a whistled form of Turkish requires that “speakers” rely as heavily on the right side of their brains as on the left side, researchers have found.”
“Instead of using ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to describe Standard American English versus African-American English, Craig’s model uses ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ designations, so there’s no judgment attached to either language. One isn’t ‘better’ than the other per se, it’s all about when it’s appropriate to use one form or the other. It’s ‘this is how you talk in school,’ rather than ‘don’t talk like that.’ Craig calls it ‘a slight change’ that makes a big difference in kids’ attitudes about their own language.”
What would Earth’s skies look like with Saturn’s rings? Awesome, gorgeous renderings.
And one (more) big science-based reason why everyone should be able to make a comfortable living wage:
“If just one Einstein right now is working 60 hours a week in two jobs just to survive, instead of propelling the entire world forward with another General Theory of Relativity… that loss is truly incalculable. How can we measure the costs of lost innovation? Of businesses never started? Of visions never realized?”
How technology shapes new English accents (1930-present) January 5, 2016Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: everything old is new again, language, linguistics, words
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Saw these two links in quick succession, wanted to put them next to each other.
The Trans-Atlantic accent, recognizable from newsreels and films from the ’30s and ’40s, influenced by the need to be understandable to listeners with low-tech radio receivers
The YouTube voice, recognizable mostly in vloggers whose videos are just talking heads, influenced by the need to keep viewers’ attention in a market full of flashy visual effects